Skip to main content

National Rx Drug Abuse Summit

Meeting with Congressman Rogers at Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit

Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins

Congressman Hal Rogers and Francis Collins
It was nice to meet with Congressman Hal Rogers of Kentucky at the eighth annual Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta. This four-day event, held from April 22-25, 2019, offers an opportunity for decision makers and allied professionals to discuss ways to better address this public health emergency and help heal affected communities and families. Credit: Pierce Harman Photography

Panel Discussion at Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit

Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins

Dr. Collins taking part in panel discussion of HEALing Communities Study
I’ve enjoyed taking part in the eighth annual Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta. Here, I’m participating in a panel discussion about the newly launched HEALing Communities Study. Joining in the discussion (left to right) are: Nora Volkow, director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse; Alex Elswick of Kentucky Voices of Hope, Lexington; and Sharon Walsh, University of Kentucky, Lexington. The panel discussion took place on April 23, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Centennial Ballroom.

Managing Chronic Pain: Opioids Are Often Not the Answer

Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins

Opioids and researchThe term “silent epidemic” sometimes gets overused in medicine. But, for prescription opioid drugs, the term fits disturbingly well. In 2012, more than 259 million prescriptions were written in the United States for Vicodin, OxyContin, and other opioid painkillers. That equals one bottle of pain pills for every U.S. adult. And here’s an even more distressing statistic: in 2011, overdoses of prescription painkillers, most unintentional, claimed the lives about 17,000 Americans—46 people a day [1].

The issue isn’t whether opioid painkillers have a role in managing chronic pain, such as that caused by cancer or severe injuries. They do. What’s been lacking is an unbiased review of the scientific literature to examine evidence on the safety of long-term prescription opioid use and the impact of such use on patients’ pain, function, and quality of life. The NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) recently convened an independent panel to conduct such a review, and what it found is eye-opening. People with chronic pain have often been lumped into a single category and treated with generalized approaches, even though very little scientific evidence exists to support this practice.